2/15/2014 | Spartanburg, S.C. - Hodge Center | Attendance: 807
|Stats at a Glance||FGCU||UPST|
|3P FG Percentage||.579
FGCU (16-10, 10-3 A-Sun)
@ USC Upstate (15-11, 8-5 A-Sun)
Saturday, Feb. 15 | 2:00 PM | G.B. Hodges Center (878)
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Coming off a loss at ETSU on Thursday night which snapped a four-game winning streak, the FGCU men’s basketball team (16-10, 10-3 Atlantic Sun Conference) will look to get back on track when the Eagles take on USC Upstate (15-11, 8-5 A-Sun) Saturday at 2 p.m. from the G.B. Hodge Center.
SETTING THE STAGE
FGCU’s 89-81 loss against ETSU slid the Eagles to second place in the A-Sun standings, one-half game behind idle Mercer (10-2), which hosts Lipscomb Friday evening. That contest was originally scheduled for Thursday, but was postponed due to winter weather. Despite the setback in Johnson City, Tenn., FGCU still has a two-game lead over Upstate, which enters in sole possession of third place.
The game will be broadcast on ESPN3, and fans can access the production by following the link at the top of this release or through their mobile device via the WatchESPN app. Live in-game and behind-the-scenes updates will be available through Twitter @FGCU_MBB, and live stats can be accessed by following the link at the top of the release or by logging on to the men’s basketball schedule page on FGCUAthletics.com.
TWEETABLES (5 Things To Know In 140 Characters Or Less)
• FGCU has not lost back-to-back games since Dec. 17 and 19 at USF and Mississippi State, respectively.
• In the first meeting earlier this year with Upstate, FGCU was coming off a loss at Jacksonville and responded with a 63-60 win over the Spartans.
• The Eagles never led Thursday at ETSU, marking just the second time (season opener at Nebraska) they’ve failed to lead at any point of a game.
• Despite surrendering 89 points at ETSU – the second-most this year – FGCU still leads the A-Sun in scoring defense, allowing just 66.2 points per game.
• The 89 points ETSU tallied were 13 more than any other A-Sun opponent versus FGCU this year and 24 points more, on average, than the Eagles allow.
The two teams rank among the A-Sun’s best in scoring defense. While FGCU leads the league at just 66.2 points allowed per game, USC Upstate ranks third, surrendering only 68.1 per outing. Mercer (67.2) ranks second as all of the conference’s top-three teams in the standings also rank in the top three in the defensive rankings.
The largest, and one of the only, disparities in the two clubs comes in offensive rebounding where Upstate leads the league by grabbing an average of 12.5 per game. Meanwhile, FGCU ranks last in the A-Sun at 9.3 offensive rebounds per game. However, in league action, Upstate grabs 13.2 per outing to pace the A-Sun while FGCU corrals 10.3, good for sixth.
In total, the two teams both rank in the top three in the A-Sun in five different statistical categories.
SCOUTING USC UPSTATE
• USC Upstate had its home game on Thursday against Stetson postponed until Monday due to a winter storm. The Spartans – who have won six of their last seven – are coming off a 75-63 victory at ETSU on Monday.
• Ty Greene, Upstate’s second-leading scorer at 15.4 per game, broke a bone in his right hand during practice in late January and has missed the last five games. Greene scored a game-high 21 points in the first meeting against FGCU earlier this year.
• In Greene’s absence, Torrey Craig – the A-Sun’s Preseason Player of the Year – has stepped up, leading the league in scoring (17.1) and ranking second in the conference behind teammate Ricardo Glenn (7.8) in rebounding (7.5).
• The Spartans, who have defeated Virginia Tech and South Carolina this year, are 9-1 at home and have won seven in a row in the smallest Division-I gym in the nation (878), including a 19-point win without Greene over Mercer.
• Glenn turned in his conference-leading eighth double-double of the season by recording 18 points and 15 rebounds against ETSU. Craig added 22 points at ETSU to become just the seventh player in A-Sun history with 2,000 career points.
• Head coach Eddie Payne (Wake Forest ‘73) enters his 12th season at the helm of the Spartans with a record at Upstate of 171-187 (53-72 A-Sun).
FGCU leads the all-time series with USC Upstate, 9-4. The Eagles have won four straight games against their conference foe, outscoring the Spartans 280-241 in that span. The Green and Blue is 5-2 at home against Upstate, 3-2 in Spartanburg, S.C. and 1-0 in a neutral-site contest – the 2012 A-Sun Championship in Macon, Ga.
LAST TIME VS. USC UPSTATE
Trailing by as much as 10 points in the second half, FGCU stormed back, and behind its defense and 17 points each from Chase Fieler (Parkersburg, W. Va./Parkersburg South HS) and Bernard Thompson (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County HS) the Eagles secured a 63-60 win over USC Upstate in front of what was then the second-largest home crowd in program history.
Fieler scored 13 of his points in the second half, while Thompson added a season-high four steals, five rebounds and two blocks. Brett Comer (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park HS) was the lone other FGCU player to reach double figures with 10 points, six of which came in the second half as he played all by one second before leaving with a broken nose on an accidental elbow.
Trailing by five, 49-45, at the 11:43 mark, FGCU locked in defensively and limited the Spartans to just five points over the next 8 minutes and 30 seconds to go ahead six, 60-54. A frantic final few minutes resulted in Upstate with the ball and a chance to either tie or take the lead in the closing seconds, but an unsettled possession eventually ended in a Fieler steal with one second left to ice the contest.
PLAYER QUICK HITS
Thompson: Moved into second place on FGCU’s all-time field-goals made list with seven against ETSU and now has 450 for his career – just 13 shy of breaking Ryan Hopkins’s record of 463.
Jamail Jones (Atlanta, Ga./Montverde Academy/Marquette): Tallied 13 points at ETSU Thursday, his third A-Sun game with exactly 13 points, but just his third double-figure scoring contest since Nov. 28 at NC State.
Dajuan Graf (Charlotte, N.C./Phillip O. Berry Academy): Continues to lead FGCU in assist-to-turnover ratio in A-Sun play with 41 assists and just 16 turnovers for a 2.6 ratio. The sophomore filled the stat sheet with five points, a season-best five rebounds and a team-high five assists against only one turnover versus ETSU Thursday night.
FGCU will look to take momentum into arguably the most highly-anticipated game all year in the A-Sun when the Eagles face Mercer next Friday night, Feb. 21, at 6 p.m. in a nationally-televised contest on ESPNU. The game is already sold out, with only a limited amount of student tickets remaining. If all student tickets are not claimed by 5 p.m. Thursday, they will be made available to the general public on a first-come, first-served basis.
Following the Mercer game, FGCU will take on Kennesaw State in its final home game of the regular season on Sunday, Feb. 23, at 1:30 p.m. The contest will serve as Senior Day for the Eagles.
For up-to-the-minute information and behind-the-scenes access to the men’s basketball program, follow @FGCU_MBB on Twitter and Instagram, and “Like” us on Facebook at /FGCUMBB.